The State and Terrorism in the Federal Republic of Germany, 1969-1982

Employees (IfZ):  Prof. Dr. Johannes Hürter

The struggle between the state and terrorism was one of the fundamental domestic political problems that confronted the Federal Republic of Germany in the 1970s. Whether in academic research or in the press, one often even reads of “years of terror” or of a “decade of internal security”. Even if such labels may seem to be an exaggeration, it remains beyond doubt that the self-titled “urban guerillas” of the RAF and other groups were able to instigate special antiterrorist discourses, measures, laws, and processes in the free democratic state, which would deeply disturb the sensitive relationship between security and liberty. The question of how the government and parliament dealt with terrorist violence during the Social Democratic-Liberal era lies at the center of the project headed by Johannes Hürter. The actions of the state were characterized during the period by the active, generally leadership-driven, long-term politics of reforming internal security, increasingly mixed with reactive, generally bureaucracy-driven, and short-term politics of situational measures taken against terrorism. This practically dialectical development is to be analyzed at the levels of perception and action and placed in the context of shifts in “state authority” and “governance” in an increasingly deliberative democracy.

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